Posted by: lindsaygoes | February 9, 2012

Forts and food in Cuba

ImageAfter Trinidad we headed to Cienfuegos, a more neoclassical town than some others in Cuba, which was settled by French immigrants. We went to Coppelia, an ice-cream chain which is subsidised by the government and all had five scoops of guava ice-cream for lunch. It was yummy. It probably also cost about ten cents, although we did have to line up for a little while to get in, and they only had the one flavour. Then we strolled through the town, looking at all the squares and old buildings, as well as walking along the waterfront. We did see one guy in a boat which consisted of a large piece of styrofoam and a bit of a weight to balance it. You wouldn’t want to get into it if there was a breeze, or some waves. We also visited the Palacio de Valle, a Cuban copy of Alhambra, the moorish palace/fortress thing in Spain. Which I haven’t seen. Maybe I don’t need to worry now that I’ve seen the copy?

We really only had the afternoon in Cienfuegos and the next day we headed back to Havana, stopping in Santa Clara on the way where we saw Che Guevara’s Monument and Mausoleum and had a look at a load of artefacts from the revolution. It was a lazy afternoon in Havana, visiting the Hotel Nacional for a drink (and managed to check my email for the second time over the trip. Luckily I’m not addicted to the internet or anything). Had a little bit of a wander around Old Havana that night before a lovely seafood dinner.

The following day I finally got a proper explore of Havana with a walking tour around Old Havana. There was a lot that I missed the first time, so it was nice to have various places pointed out (including Casa del Chocolate where I had a very rich hot chocolate), as well as a few art galleries, a cigar shop, perfume creators, and a hotel where Ernest Hemingway stayed. It had a nice view over the city. That night it was our final group dinner in one of the highest buildings in Havana, so once again we had a fantastic view.

The next day, a few of us who were left in town visited a couple of the forts, El Castillo del Morro, where we even climbed the lighthouse, which was definitely taller on the inside that the outside, and San Carlos de la Cabaña, which was built after the English defeated El Castillo del Morro. At San Carlos fort they fire a cannon every night at 9pm. Not much help to us as we visited in the morning. After the forts it was time for some shopping, so we visited some handicraft markets which were lots of fun, although I didn’t fill up my bag too much. And then it was back to the hotel to wait a little while until heading back to the airport.

The flight back was a little better than the flight to Cuba. I ended up with two and a bit seats so I just curled my legs up, closed my eyes, and pretended I was somewhere else. And eventually I was, coming back to snow in the UK. How exciting!

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